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· Registered
2001 330Ci
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, new here as I'm just taking posession of a pre-owned 2001 330ci with 133k miles. It was a California (Irvine) car up to 2015. Was moved up to the north in 2015 and has been a weekend car for the previous owner. A lot of preventative matinanance was performed on the car (though not as thorough as I would hope) with reciepts available to validate work done. First couple of owners seemed kinda anal about servicing the car. Dealership records show it being serviced every 3 months. LOL. Overall a very clean car, with interior bits that have been repaired for the known issues (pillar and headliner sag). Leather in good condition. M3 steering/pedals installed. M3 wheels as well. Not a single dent/ding on the car, nor any rust anywhere. New tires and brakes. New motor and transmission mounts. No subframe cracks/damage.
Transmission was leaking oil, but was fixed with a new seal last week. Been lurking and reading up on the posts on here and I have the following stuff on my to-do list.
  1. Cooling system replacement
  2. Vanos service
  3. Check and replace suspension components (all bushes and struts)
No issues with the car currently, but I want to have peace of mind, so I came up with the above list of things. If y'all have any other recommendation, please feel free to pitch in.

I'm looking to use this as my daily driver (60 miles of mostly b-roads commute).

· Registered
2001 330Ci
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here are some pics from the sale advert, coz they're all i have right now. Gonna get my grubby hands on it this weekend :D


· Registered
2001 330Ci
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey all, sorry been away for a bit, as life got in the way. Got the car and here's some of the good/bad/ugly so far.

First some context of why i bought this car:
I've been a fan of the E46 generation of BMWs since they came out. However, back in the day, i wasnt financially capable of buying one. Now, with finances and life in a good place, thought of getting one for myself.
Initial plan was to look for and get an M3. However, i didnt want a convertible. Its just a big headache if the smallest thing goes wrong (atleast in my mind). Slicktop it had to be.
Looking for a clean (unmolested) M3 is more challenging than i thought it would be. Well maintained cars with a verifiable history were being sold for 40-50k. Stuff that wasnt all that great was still being advertised for 25-30k. Nothing close to where i live that i even wanted to see in person. Something that i did want to take a look at was across the country.

Hence, started looking at the 330 coupe and found this gem. PO was a good/honest person to speak with. He provided all service records and history when requested.
So a week after finalizing the deal, here we are. Got this one for 7900 USD.

Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Grille

First fuel stop:
Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Car Vehicle registration plate

Tire Wheel Car Sky Vehicle

The car was well looked after externally, but the interiors were nasty. Everything you could touch had a layer of gunk on it.
Some pics to show what i mean:
Tire Automotive lighting Automotive tire Grille Motor vehicle

Gas Electric blue Auto part Automotive tire Rim

Light Blue Automotive tire Yellow Gesture

Automotive tire Tire Motor vehicle Bumper Gas

Automotive tire Grey Tints and shades Wood Electric blue

Went through almost an entire bottle of chemical guys Interior APC to clean out the whole mess

Engine bay wasnt any better either. It was covered in grime and needed some desperate TLC to get looking nice:
Car Vehicle Hood Motor vehicle Automotive design

A few hours later:
Car Vehicle Hood Light Motor vehicle

You might notice that the headlights dont have their "surround" in the after pics. These were rubber and falling apart with pieces all over. I just pulled them out coz they didnt seem to funtionally do anything there. Not sure what their purpose is..

The cabin air filter housing wasnt very clean either. Had a bunch of leaves in there:
Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Grille Automotive exterior

Found that the filter itself was relatively clean and the charcoal type (i think, because its grey and not the usual white), unless its just so dirty that it looks like its a charcoal filter :D
Land vehicle Hood Automotive tire Vehicle Motor vehicle

Door jambs were pretty much similar in state:
Automotive tire Hood Bumper Automotive exterior Gas

I do believe a monkey was hired to do some work on the car.
The rear view camera is installed using self threading/tapping screws into the trunk handle part:
Gas Bumper Automotive exterior Auto part Font

Had to take plates off to install my new ones and was surprised with where the camera cable is coming from:

Paint Art Wood Grey Window

Is that a hole that's present on all of these cars, or is that just a lazy job done by drilling a hole through the trunk lid?

The rear window seals are rotting:

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Tread Road surface

Interior leather is in pretty good nick:
Front seats after some cleaning and conditioning:
Motor vehicle Automotive design Bag Vehicle door Car seat cover

Hood Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Vehicle Automotive design

Rear seats look like they've never been used before. Still gave them a good clean and conditioned them:

Car Vehicle Automotive design Motor vehicle Car seat cover

Now to the mechanical bits (i do apologize for no pics about these, as i was working solo and handling the phone and working just wasnt convienient)
Did inspect the suspension and all struts show no signs of leaks. Car does ride very smooth on all types of road surfaces.Bushings all check out as well, with no cracks seen anywhere.
Subframe mounts are clean.
Cooling system seems to have been refreshed in the recent past. Pipes/hoses not showing any signs of cracks or aging even. All soft and supple?
Air filter is a brand new K&N intake that i'm not a fan of, but leaving it in there till its time to clean. I'll put back the stock filter at that time (PO did retain the OEM filter and housing).
Engine oil levels are good and oil is new. No frothing/milky layer noticed on the dip stick or the oil fill cap.
Coolant level was good, but had to top it off with about 200ml.
Car still has the mechanical clutch fan which is working fine. Might change this to the electric one in the future.
Only bit i've not checked/verified is the vanos service. PO didnt even know what a vanos is, so i'm sure he hasnt touched it. Low RPM torque is fine, so i'm not too inclined to touch that just yet.
No oil leaks under the car. Nothing on the head gasket/exhaust side either.
Power steering reservoir was covered in a layer of oil, but i think this is from spilling when it was being refilled. i cleaned it when i got the car and after about 200 miles of driving, not seeing it re-appear. Probably just a shoddy job of cleaning up post service.

No lights on the dash (but i changed this by being dumb).
Post cleaning the car, i think i got done around sun down, and just drove into the garage and left the car there.
Being used to a lot of the driver assist features on newer cars, i forgot to turn off the headlights. Next morning, lo and behold, the car/battery is dead.
Purchased a jump starter box and got it started, but now i have the SES light on in the dash.
Dont have a code reader yet, so need to figure out the cause and solution to this one.

I think i've got all bases covered from reading through a truck load of threads on here about everything i could.
I intend on keeping this car for a long time and it will be my daily driver as well. So, If ya'll think i need to check something i've missed, please do pitch in.

· Registered
2001 330Ci
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, you are off to a great start. Sounds to me like a super nice example and very well taken care of. Seems like a good deal to me as well
The “gunk” on the interior may well be the original soft touch top layer that is slowly degrading. Could also just be a very filthy interior, but I think it’a a combo of the two.
Good work and a good yarn as well.
Thanks, and yeah, its a combo of the 2. The soft touch material is getting scratched up quite a bit, but there was a layer of crud on top of it. The towels i used were black by the time i got done :D
Overall, its a very nice car, that i think is a good platform for long term use when maintained properly.

· Registered
2001 330Ci
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Also a quick update on the SES light. Drove the car around for about 20 miles and it went away. So its the same category as when replacing a battery, gotta drive the car around for a bit for "sensor re-learning" (i think that's what it was called in some other threads).

· Registered
2001 330Ci
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Next time SES comes on (it will) read the DME fault codes.
Is it expected for the SES to come back on with a battery that went low, or do you mean in general if/when it comes back on?
Also, any specific scanner you would recommend i buy for this? I know there's a ton of them out there, just looking for what your personal preference was :D
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